The Buzz by Mike Schaffer - PR, Social Media, Pop Culture and Sports

Buzz, PR, Social Media

September 18, 2009

PR Buzz: A Code of Civility in the PR World

Well, we had a doozy of an afternoon and evening in the PR world on Thursday, didn’t we?

It all started with a blog post from PRSA Health Academy board member Ben Garrett here:

A few hours later, Lauren Fernandez and Kasey Skala outlined their disagreements here:

Several very smart people commented on both posts, mostly poking holes in Garrett’s discussion.  (For full disclosure, you can read my comments on both sites and I respectfully disagree with Garrett.)

What I really liked about the comments on the site is that they were well-thought out, tackled the issues with the argument and most of all, were respectful to the author.

It was quite humorous to read so many comments written in the “Oreo Cookie” method of a praise, a criticism, a praise, but that’s how we PR pros operate.

In our community here, I’d like to think we’ve created an environment of professionalism and respect, where we can present opinions without dissent being perceived as a direct, personal attack.  I’m very encouraged about the future of the communications industry with so many intelligent professionals from around the world converge online to share, discuss and debate.

There are hundreds of us here that read and write blogs, participate in weekly and monthly chats, present at conferences, and teach classes.  Please remember that we all have the same goal – creating an industry we, and future generations – can excel in.  All points are valid and there is no need to get ultra-defensive if the majority of the people respectfully disagree with you.

This is the code I go by and I invite everyone to do the same:

1) While Avenue Q says otherwise, the Internet is for sharing.

2) Have respect for your peers.

3) Read, comment, respond.

4) Don’t present an idea if you can’t handle dissent.

5) Always respond to the idea presented.

6) It’s impossible to understand tone and inflection in a Tweet.

7) HAVE FUN!  We have been given this tool of global networking that no other generation before us has had access to!  It’s incredible!

What other “Civility Codes” should we include?

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